Friday, December 08, 2006

The RIAA wants to dip into publisher's pockets

The RIAA is a busy organisations. It's not all about sitting around briefing lawyers about the best way to sue its own customers.

Oh, no, it's also always busy coming up with intiatives.

For example, it's spotted that while the record labels totally screwed-up the move to digital, losing millions through a misguided policy of trying to shut down the new technology instead of working to meet the demand, music publishers were quick to see the opportunities and, for example through striking quick deals to co-operate with ringtone sites, have managed to do quite nicely.

The RIAA response? Since they're making money elsewhere, they should be paid less for writing records:

"During the period when piracy was devastating the record industry, the RIAA argues, profits for publishers rose as revenue generated from ringtones and other innovative services grew. Record industry executives said there was nothing strange about seeking a rate change that would pay less to the people who write the music."

So: apparently amusingly not noticing that if people didn't write songs, they'd have nothing to sell, the RIAA have decided that songwriters should earn less for each song simply because they've found other ways of raising revenue.

Let's all try this. Here's a letter I'm going to send to an Ebay seller, utilising the same principle:

Dear Roger,
I'm the winning bidder on the pornographic lithograph of alyson hannigan, naked, riding a horse you were selling on eBay. I bid two hundred dollars for the picture, but have decided I'm only going to pay you sixty bucks. When I made the bid, I assumed this was the only thing you were selling on eBay, but have since discovered you are offering fridge magnets with crude hand-drawn pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar masturbating with a cucumber, and a range of mugs depiciting the boys from the OC in a variety of homoerotic poses. Since you are making incomes elsewhere, it's apparent that this must mean the value of your work on the hannigan-on-horseback is worth less, and as such, you will be happy to accept the lower price.

I'm sure it'll go down well, don't you?

Something to consider the next time the RIAA sniff and say they're only thinking of all the starving musicians...

[Thanks to Julia Fisherman for the tip]